By Clodagh Bastian
– The Boylan Bridge Brewpub reopens this week after a year-long restoration to secure a foundational wall collapsed by flooding. The brewpub will resume its place as the best spot to enjoy a craft brew while overlooking the downtown Raleigh skyline. Andrew Leager, the BBB’s owner, has new plans too. He will soon be producing liquor and hand-crafted liquor barrels out of the iconic Raleigh landmark.
Located at the corner of West Hargett and Boylan Streets, the brewpub sits atop a huge, cavernous basement whose height precipitated the pub’s collapse, but whose generous space will now also provide a home for its new ventures.
An architect by training, Leager maintains a long-held love affair with toolmaking and woodworking, and spent several years as a cabinet-maker. In fact, he crafted and fitted all the brewpub’s décor. These technical and applicational skills also combined to create the pub’s most enjoyed feature: the large deck overlooking downtown Raleigh. In meticulous detail, Leager calculated sight lines and height angles to ensure that not only patrons on the deck could enjoy the view, but that drivers in passing vehicles also got the perfect perspective of guests’ heads and skyline.
Another interest of Leager’s completed the trifecta of obtaining the space and his ability to create its features: beer-making. Having dabbled in brewing beer for his own use, he decided it couldn’t be too hard to produce on a commercial scale and jumped into production after a few visits to beer-making conventions. In 2005, the Boylan Bridge Brewpub was born and quickly became a hugely popular spot until a water pipe rupture flooded the space and brought one of the foundational walls crashing down in late 2015.
Two feet of mud removed and walls replaced and braced, Leager is now ready for his next venture. Continuing his knack for spotting a need and filling it with what’s at hand, he plans to add liquor, aged in hand-crafted barrels, to the pub’s current beer-brewing operation. A distillery is on its way from Germany and wood- and metal-working tools are at the ready for barrels – some, of course, handmade by Leager. His existing cabinet makers’ paint spray booth will serve as the perfect enclosure to burn out the barrels. If all goes well, he expects to produce barrels for both in-house use and for sale.
Visit Leager and his Boylan Bridge Brewpub to welcome them back this week. Enjoy a yummy craft beer and look forward to a tasty dram. And then stay tuned for his next big idea- because you can be certain he’ll have one.